Home of Frederick Douglass,
Cedar Hill, Washington, DC:
Library with busts of
David Friedrich Strauss & Ludwig Feuerbach

Photographs by Emil Volcheck, 28 March 2015


Note: These busts are the work of G. Hess in the 1890s. Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) Young Hegelian philosopher, a materialist & freethinker, a revolutionary philosopher of religion and erstwhile inspirer of Karl Marx. Feuerbach’s book The Essence of Christianity (1841) is in Mr. Douglass’s library. David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874) was a Hegelian philosopher, German theologian of the higher criticism, and the author of the Life of Jesus (1835).

Specifications: Feuerbach bust: plaster; H 35.5 cm; item # FRDO 324. Strauss bust: plaster; H 34.5 cm; item # FRDO 325.

The sculptor is surely George Hess (1832-1909), born in Pfungstadt, Germany. As a child, he was brought to the United States, and left a penniless orphan. He returned to Munich for study at the age of 25 (circa 1857). He subsequently settled and practiced his art in New York city, where he did portrait and genre work in stone. According to one source, his bust of Mme. Janauschek is well-known; other works include “Echo,” “The Water-Lily,” and two humorous pieces called “Gold Up” and “Gold Down.”

Among Douglass’s collection of booklets can be found Society For Ethical Culture [Booklet of All the Things the Society Has to Offer and What It Is About], (New York, 1893; 15 pp.).

There are too many interesting items in Douglass’s collection of books to point out here. There are of course expected works on political, social, and historical matters at home and abroad, government documents, works on oratory and religion, scientific (note Von Humboldt) and anthropological works, copies of his own works. There are books in French and German also. The German idealist philosopher Fichte is represented. So is the textbook on ancient Greek written by the ex-slave and eminent classicist William S. Scarborough. There is a book on Socrates, Plato & the Grecian Sophists. William Ellery Channing, Unitarian minister, liberal theologian, and social reformer, can be found, as well as Andrew D. White, best known for a famous work on the struggle between Christianity and science. Other thinkers represented include Voltaire, Rousseau , Spencer, Ruskin, Froude, Carlyle. Literary authors represented include William Cullen Bryant, Burns, Cowper, Dickens, Dumas, George Eliot, Fielding, Goldsmith, Hawthorne, Homer, Thomas Hood, Washington Irving, Lamb, Meredith, George Sand, Schiller, Sir Walter Scott, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Thackeray, Whittier, Wordsworth.

Letter to Ludwig Feuerbach from Ottilie Assing about Frederick Douglass

The Index (A Weekly Paper), Volume 6, Whole no. 271, Thursday, March 4, 1875, p. 1
(reports on George Hess et al)

Ludwig Feuerbach: A Bibliography

The Young Hegelians: Selected Bibliography

American Philosophy Study Guide

The Afro-German Connection: Web Guide & Bibliography

Black Studies, Music, America vs Europe Study Guide

African American / Black Autodidacticism, Education, Intellectual Life (Bibliography in Progress)

Atheism / Freethought / Humanism / Rationalism / Skepticism / Unbelief / Secularism / Church-State Separation Web Links


The Libraries of Great Men: Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site:

Virtual museum exhibit house tour
Photos of Douglass including study

National Park Service: Frederick Douglass: History & Culture
(including Douglass’s collection of books & booklets,
diaries of Frederick & Helen)
List of Booklets

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Uploaded 30 March 2015
Updated 6 April 2015

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